You’ve landed on this page because you want to know how to get rid of weeds WITHOUT killling your grass, am I right?
Weeds popping up through your grass is a frustrating reality that you need to do something about, sooner rather than later.
After all, you’ve invested a lot of time, money, and maybe even a little bit of blood, sweat and tears getting your lawn looking into a pristine condition, just to have these ungodly menaces (weeds) not only take over the look of your lawn, but suck it dry of its’ nutrients.
You’re not going to stand for it anymore and it’s time to rid these weeds of there foothold, once and for all, right?
Good to hear it, because you’ve come to just the right place.
8 Ways To Get Rid of Weeds, All Without Killing Your Grass
There’s probably a million different tips, tricks and tactics that people have come up with over the years for getting rid of any type of weed imaginable, not only in their lawn but flower beds and throughout their properties.
While some may work very effectively and others have a pretty long shot at ever really working, I want to give the 8 best ways to kill those pesky weeds in your grass and keep your beautiful lawn unaffected:
#1 - Keep Your Lawn Mowed High
I’m sure you know that mowing a lawn regularly not only keeps it looking its best, but it also is critical to keeping your grass healthy. What you may not know is that keeping the grass mowed high can also help combat weeds from growing and thriving. Nowadays, almost all lawn mowers (that I know of) have a height adjustment setting that can easily help you accomplish this. Even if you just mowed your lawn, you can put your mower to the highest setting and mow over the spots that have weeds popping up. Make sure the lawn mower is set high enough to not cut your grass, but just enough that it takes off the heads of all the weeds. Over time, the growth of the weeds will diminish and they will die off completely.
#2 - Water Deep & Less Frequent
How often do you water your lawn? If you’re like most then it’s probably at least 3 times per week for short periods of time.
The truth is that you should be watering deep (for long periods of time) and less frequently. By adopting this type of watering habit to your lawn, it allows your grasses roots to take a stronger hold, therefore allowing it to build a healthy resistance to fighting and keeping weeds out.
Of course, with drought situations around the country and local watering laws it’s not always possible to do this type of watering schedule. At the very least, try a rotation of getting longer, less frequent watering periods in once every few weeks, when possible.
#3 - Use Your Hands
I know, it’s not the sexiest thing to be using your hands to get rid of weeds, but if you’re looking for the most organic, tried-and-true way of ridding your grass of those pesky things, then you’ve found it.
A good tip is to get into the habit of pulling any weeds as your mowing your lawn. And you don’t necessarily have to use your hands as I like to recommend a good old-fashioned hoe or a stand-up weeding tool that makes the job quick n’ easy.
While the weeds may come back over time, you’ll begin to reduce how much they’re able to repopulate. As you continually pull these weeds, any young ones that are removed quickly won’t be able to reproduce.
#4 - Boiling Water
Simply take a kettle of hot, boiling water and gently pour it over any problem weeds in your lawn area. Be careful to keep it within the radius of the weed and not let too much hot water spill onto the surrounding lawn area as it has the potential to kill off some of your lawn as well. As long as you’re careful and precise with this method you should be able to see immediate results on certain types of weeds.
#5 - Corn Gluten Meal to the Rescue
Corn gluten meal is a product meant farming and gardening, but shouldn’t be confused with another common product, cornmeal (used in food products). Corn gluten meal has been found to stop weeds from germinating and can effectively be used on your lawn and other garden areas as well. Another benefit of using this more, organic driven product is that you don’t have to worry about your animal friends being negatively affected as it’s a non-toxic solution.
If you’re looking for CGM we recommend heading down to your local Nursery or getting this one from Amazon.
#6 - A Touch of Salt, Vinegar, and Soap
Believe it or not- salt, vinegar, and a touch of dish soap are pretty effective at eliminating weeds in your grass area. According to HGTV, the “perfect natural weed killer recipe” consists of 1-gallon white vinegar, mixed with 1 cup of salt, 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap, and all thrown together in a spray bottle.
Warning: be very careful when applying this mixture to any weeds and ensure that you only get the weeded area and not any of the surrounding grass as salt can prohibit any types of grass from growing in the future.
#7 - Scorch Em' With Flames!
Are you ready to light those weeds up, quite literally? Flame weeding is just what it sounds like: you’re going to take a flame over the weeded area (very briefly) in order to heat up the plants tissues to a point where it shrivels up and dies.
Flaming your weeds a couple times is normal as you’ll usually only be killing a part of the weed above ground and not its roots. After a few times, you should notice the weed start to die off and not returned as often.
You can check out this flame weeder from Amazon, which is just a propane tank with a wand hose connected to it.
#8 - Herbicides
If you’re the average homeowner, herbicide should be used as a very last option or left to a professional, licensed landscaper. But, there are times that weeds have overtaken the lawn or you have just too big of an area to use any of the above-mentioned solutions:
Before starting with any herbicides, you need to know what type of lawn is growing in your yard and the specific weeds that you’re dealing with. Some herbicides have different temperature ranges that they work best at and some only work during certain times of the year.
Herbicides fall into one of the three major areas below:
Preemergence herbicides deal with any weeds that have not broken through the surface of the soil. While these herbicides don’t stop weeds from growing in the first place, they do eliminate them when they attempt to break through the treated area’s surface. Keep in mind that this type of herbicide treatment will not kill any weeds that have already grown in a specific area.
Postemergence herbicides help to eliminate weeds that have already grown and broken through the soil’s surface layer and they come in two basic forms: systemic and contact.
If you want to understand more about herbicides and the specific types for different kinds of weeds, read University of Illinois’ article on “Understanding Herbicides”.
What Are Weeds, Anyway?
They get a lot of hate, but the reality is that weeds are simply another type of grass or plant that is growing undesirably and is different than the intended, surrounding vegetation.
For example, you wouldn’t want to have Kentucky Bluegrass growing in your backyard of Tall Fescue as it’s going to give off a different look and texture than the rest of the surrounding lawn. Not only do these “weeds” look bad, but they deprive the main type of lawn of the nutrients that it needs to grow healthy and flourish
Common Types of Weeds
Dandelion is probably one of the most common lawn weeds around. It’s a low-growing perennial plant which contains leaves that are oblong shaped and have a teeth-like structure, and it’s unmistakable with its yellow flowers and jagged-like leaflets.
Crabgrass can be annuals or perennials and are one of the most difficult lawn weeds to get rid of. They typically have long, scraggly stocks with finger-like tips of grass shoots coming off the top. Pre-emergence herbicides are one of the most effective ways of eradicating this plant from your lawn, as well as planting a hardy grass that is known to effectively fight the growth of crabgrass.
Ragweed is a perennial that can typically grow up to 3 feet tall and branches off into many different areas. The stems are fuzzy and it contains tiny flowers which turn yellow and green as it matures. Ragweed is one of the main culprits for hay fever during the summer and can be eliminated by continually cutting your lawn where it will die over time.
Quackgrass is a perennial grass which is native to California. It is highly aggressive and takes the nutrients out of the surrounding vegetation that it inhabits. It contains flowers which are that of a flat spike, about 1.5” to 9” long. Quackgrass is best eliminated with specific herbicide treatments.
Yellow Nutsedge is a perennial that can reach two to three feet tall and has yellow to green leaves, and a shiny appearance. This weed is found in many different types of lawns and timing is critical when using herbicides to get rid of it.
Spotted Spurge is an annual plant that typically forms a thick, mat-like area on whatever it covers. It is very low growing and has flat, elongated leaflets that are grouped in a circular fashion around the stem. Getting rid of this weed plant is critical as it can contain fungus and other harmful bacteria.
I know just how frustrating weeds can be, so I hope I’ve given you a few different strategies on how to get rid of weeds without killing your lawn!
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, so make sure to leave a message with any questions or your own strategies for killing pesky weeds in your grass.
Recommended reading: Make sure to check out my recent guide on the best four stroke weed eaters that I love!